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NASCAR Richmond 2016 qualifying results: Denny Hamlin wins pole for regular season finale

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Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson will share the front row for Saturday night’s race.

Native Virginian Denny Hamlin is well positioned to record another home state win after capturing the pole in qualifying Friday at Richmond International Raceway.

Hamlin (122.344 mph) led the final session of the three-round format to secure the top spot for Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400, his first pole of the season. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver is seeking his third win and first since 2010 on what he considers his home track.

"This is a great kick for us," Hamlin said. "We've qualified in the top 10 I think 23 or 24 straight weeks and to be able to finally get a pole is a great feeling."

Kyle Larson (122.288 mph) qualified second, followed by defending race winner Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray and Kurt Busch, who had been fastest in the first two rounds.

McMurray is the only driver among the top five who hasn't secured a berth in NASCAR's playoffs, which begin next week. The 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup field will be finalized following Richmond, the last event of the 26-race regular season.

Completing the top 10 were Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne, Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson. Like McMurray, Dillon and Kahne have yet to lock themselves into the Chase. McMurray and Dillon are provisionally in due to their respective points ranking, while Kahne must win Saturday night.

"I think they are as good as they've been in a while," Kahne said of snapping a two-year winless streak. "... A lot of cars are, so it's going to be a tough race, but I think we have a car capable of contending and racing in the top five throughout the night."

The highest qualifier outside the Chase cutoff was Ryan Newman in 15th, whose team was assessed a 15-point penalty on Wednesday. He now trails McMurray, the holder of the last transfer spot, by 22 points and enters Richmond in a virtual must-win situation.

"We've been trying to win now for three years, so there's no better time than tomorrow night," Newman said.

Cole Whitt was the only entrant failing to qualify.

FEDERATED AUTO PARTS 400 STARTING LINEUP

Position Driver Make Speed
1 Denny Hamlin Toyota 122.344
2 Kyle Larson Chevrolet 122.288
3 Matt Kenseth Toyota 122.244
4 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 122.189
5 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 122.144
6 Martin Truex, Jr. Toyota 122.045
7 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 122.045
8 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 121.638
9 Kyle Busch Toyota 121.457
10 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 120.951
11 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 120.827
12 Joey Logano Ford 120.579
13 Carl Edwards Toyota 122.272
14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 122.249
15 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 122.045
16 A.J. Allmendinger Chevrolet 122.017
17 Brad Keselowski Ford 121.924
18 Trevor Bayne Ford 121.770
19 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 121.556
20 Ryan Blaney Ford 121.529
21 David Ragan Toyota 121.310
22 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Ford 120.654
23 Aric Almirola Ford 120.401
24 Regan Smith Chevrolet 120.321
25 Matt DiBenedetto Toyota 122.299
26 Casey Mears Chevrolet 122.294
27 Michael McDowell Chevrolet 122.288
28 Greg Biffle Ford 122.266
29 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 122.161
30 Paul Menard Chevrolet 122.078
31 Chris Buescher Ford 121.957
32 Landon Cassill Ford 121.935
33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 121.781
34 Chase Elliott Chevrolet 121.775
35 Brian Scott Ford 121.540
36 Josh Wise Chevrolet 121.250
37 Michael Annett Chevrolet 121.245
38 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet 120.924
39 Dylan Lupton Toyota 120.208
40 Jeffrey Earnhardt Ford 120.182